Sunday, August 21, 2005

I REALLY Do Thank G-d for My Blessings

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Growing up, I didn't light Shabbos candles unless my parents were on holiday and I was the only female in the house. But all the years I was used to watching my mother light the Shabbos candles and make the bracha silently. I don't recall her lingering over the candles.

When I was in my twenties and staying over for Shabbos at single girlfriends' who were living on their own, I'd watch them light the candles, make the bracha and linger, eyes closed, hands covering them. Once I politely asked what sort of thoughts were running through my girlfriend's head, ie. why she hesitated so long. She explained that she was thinking her private thoughts, among them that G-d should help her find an appropriate husband. I lit the candles at that friend's place, but did not linger over the candles. I figured that when the time was right, I'd have my appropriate match. [ rereading this, I noticed the unintentional pun: candles/match]

And when that appropriate match did arrive, and I did marry, and I did light two candles every week and every Yom Tov in my own home, I did linger there, eyes closed, hands covering them. In the first couple of years, I thanked G-d for my husband; then we added a candlestick and I added my son's name to that list; then we added a candlestick and I added my daughter's name to that list; then we added a candlestick and I added my other son's name to that list. Then I added every family member -- parents, siblings, in-laws, nieces and nephews -- to that mental list of thanks, and the names of friends or family members that needed their own brachot.

This ritual is my personal way of saying a bracha [over Shabbos/Yom Tov candles] while at the same time thanking G-d for the brachot he has granted me. My children have not yet questioned why I linger at the candlesticks for a few moments longer...but if they do, I'll know what to answer...

...because SHOW & TELL is as much a part of my life as it is to a preschooler. And as it has been said, "Everything I ever needed to know I learned in kindergarten."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am 17 and very much single and have been lighting candles since I was really little. I never really knew why I lit and my friends didn't. Was it the slightly chasidish backround of my family? Or was it that my grandmother had bought me a set of silver candlesticks? My sister and I always light one candle, and when I pause it is because I am thanking Hashem for whatever it was that happened right that week.